Pal Ovi is back in LA on his quarterly work trip, and among the various things on his checklist is a strange request — “three boxes of the coffee you got me last time”. Which got me all in knots, because while I remember where I bought the aforementioned box of coffee (The Coffee Commissary, just a few blocks from our apartment), and how much it cost ($20 with tax, for 12 oz), and also what variety it was (African, for sure, either Kenya, Burundi, or Congo), and even the fact that the coffee roaster claimed to have the best of New York, Los Angeles, and Scandinavian disciplines when it came to coffee roasting. But the exact brand name escaped me.
Adding to the complication was the fact that this was a seasonal coffee not in stock at the Commissary any more. I mentally went through the list of roasters I usually pick up — Onyx and 49th Parallel being the two in stock at the moment, but could not remember, for the life of me, the brand I had gotten last time.
After my mandatory “I am getting old and senile” lament was done, I decided to reverse engineer my memories. Google Photos came to the rescue. I searched for “coffee” in my photo collection and got a bunch of old pictures of coffee cups and interior shots of assorted cafes. Neat, but not what I wanted. Then I searched for “blue box” because I remembered that was the color of the box. Nope. Finally, I said fuck it to finesse, and just searched for “box”, and voila, this came up.
You will notice that the photo above does not have the name of the roastery, so I had to search for “DR Congo” followed by the words “honey, plum, spiced wine”, which led me to — ta-daaaaaa — Tectonic Coffee. The precise coffee that I had gotten for my friend’s mom, and one that she liked so much, was Muungano from the Republic of Congo.
I have been enjoying buying coffee beans, and occasionally grabbing a cup of brew, from Commissary. Not only because it’s so close to home, but also because it’s like an oasis of calm on Motor Avenue. It opens at 7 AM every day. So if I run out of beans, an event most likely to occur on an early weekend morning, it’s easy to just saunter over to buy a fresh bag. It also helps that their choice of music veers close to mine — the other day, a barista had the bright idea of playing the complete Sylvan Esso debut album from beginning to end, as I was sitting inside sipping on my Gibralter.
For the record:
- I have cut back on coffee-drinking
- I have one cup a day, black, no milk, no sugar.
- Bellemain French press, fuck-all grinder at home (planning to upgrade to a refurbished Baratza Encore)
- Impeccable technique thanks to the fine folks over on r/Coffee
- Current beans: Burundi Karyenda from Intelligentsia.
Pal Pablo, on a text message the morning after this post:
The whole post sounds so snobbish it makes me want to go to a Starbucks and drink any of the goat pee they sell as coffee